Dr. Roberta Attanasio, Georgia State University Associate Professor of Biology and Gerontology, with a team of scientists from Georgia State University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently published research examining the effects of menopause on influenza vaccines:
Nguyen D, Masseoud F, Lu X, Scinicariello F, Sambhara S, Attanasio R. 17β-Estradiol restores antibody responses to an influenza vaccine in a postmenopausal mouse model. Vaccine [serial online]. 2011;29(14):2515-2518. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.01.080
As stated in the article abstract, “Post-menopausal women belong to an age group that is highly susceptible to influenza infection and its most serious complications. However, data on the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines in these women is limited.” As Dr. Attanasio explains, “Our study shows that when you take ovaries out [of laboratory mice], and therefore estrogen out (= menopause), the antibody response to the vaccine goes down. If estrogen is given to these animals, the response goes back to normal levels.” Consequently, these findings suggest that future research is needed on post-menopausal women’s response to vaccines.